Rabbit burgers, duck burgers and crab patty burgers featured among burgers created by Waiheke High School students in a cooking competition last week. Winners from the island competition will compete with burger cooks from 20 other secondary schools on 5 July.
Waiheke High School’s year nine food technology students Vita Spurdle and Nikita Hoff-Nielsen won the Waiheke High School competition with their bacon and haloumi burger.
The students made the haloumi themselves. Haloumi is a Cypriot semi-hard, unripened brined cheese made from a mixture of goat and sheep milk, and sometimes with cows’ milk. Vita knew the Cypriot cheese went well with bacon because she and her mum make haloumi and feta every week. The two high school cooks just thought what other ingredients would go well with bacon and haloumi, says Nikita.
They settled on focaccia bread with battered and bread-crumbed onion rings, tinned beetroot, cranberry sauce, balsamic vinegar, beetroot and horopito pickle and spinach.
They had planned to use rocket but decided spinach tasted better with their combination of flavours, says Vita. “That’s all that matters.” Senior students Sheamus McCahon and Noa Clarkin came second with The Stack.
With ingredients that included onion rings in wasabi batter, beef patty wrapped in bacon, aged cheddar, mozzarella, plum chutney and balsamic vinaigrette, The Stack lived up to its name. In third place were Kobi Teehan and Alex Toft who created a bulgogi burger with Korean flavours.
Bulgogi is a Korean dish that usually consists of grilled marinated beef. Kobi and Alex’s burger contained sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, spring onions and red onion.
The judges were Simon Pope of cuisine fish and chip eatery, The Local, Ringawera Paraoa bakery owner Paddy Griffiths and Waiheke High food technology senior Angelo Chiquet-Kann.
Many ingredients were donated by local businesses such as Waiheke Fresh, Ringawera Paraoa and Wild on Waiheke.
Mr Griffiths told the students what excited him was to see young people excited about food. Mr Pope said the students had thought about what they wanted to achieve and had refined the textures and flavours.
“I think I need a sleep now,” he said after sampling so much cuisine.
Whether the Waiheke High place-getters won or lost in the inter-school burger competition did not matter, said food and hospitality course tutor Huhanna Davis “You go with our love to represent Waiheke.” • Mark Peters